True Mommy Confession #1: I Bottle-Feed my Toddler

Update 9/30/2011

My little guy is actually still using bottles, but we put organic unsweetened coconut milk in them (instead of pasteurized whole milk).

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May 4, 2011

So, there is a whole list of American Association of Pediatrics recommendations for babies and toddlers: put baby on back to sleep in the crib with no sleep props, introduce sippy cup around 6 months, wean them from the bottle at 12 months, etc.

As my younger son approached 12 months old back in January, I began mentally preparing for the impending transition from bottle to sippy cup. We had already weaned completely from breastfeeding at 10 months, and I was so sure his doctor would instruct me to ditch the bottle at his next check-up.

I’d already been letting him experiment with the cup for a few months, and although he drank water from it just fine, it had become pretty clear he was one of those babies that decided he will only drink milk when it comes out of a bottle. This was a bit strange for me coming from an exclusively breast fed newborn who basically refused to take a bottle of any sort until he was 6 months old.

However, at baby’s 12 month check-up, the doctor informed me that he had begun to fall off the growth chart over the last two visits. You certainly couldn’t tell it to look at him with his chunky little legs and arms, but those plotted points don’t lie.

Doctor’s surprising remedy was for me to continue to bottle feed him between meals a minimum of 24 oz of whole milk daily. “What??”, I thought. “Doesn’t every expert say to reduce the amount of milk in favor of food after the 12 month mark?” But, I kept my mouth shut and followed doctor’s orders.

At 13 months, I thought for sure this bottle-feeding thing should be over with. I called the doctor and questioned her on exactly how long this was supposed to go on; expressing my concern about him getting too attached to the bottle. “Well, I’m concerned about him getting nourished!” she replied, “We can make the bottle disappear at any time. If he refuses milk in a cup, continue with the bottle until his 15 month check-up.” Hmm…okay.

Since then I’ve been just loving the excuse to get my busy little toddler to sit still with me throughout the day. I remember well that the moment my now-3-year-old ended his bottle relationship was also the end of cuddle-time as I once knew it. And it is possible that this will be my last experience with a baby of my own. So, for now, I am relishing the feel of his cuddly little shape tucked into that spot where he fits so perfectly – between me and my left arm – my head against his forehead.

Admittedly, despite the fact that I’ve been instructed to continue with the bottles, it hasn’t been entirely easy to carry on with this in public. However, the few times I was slightly uncomfortable about what that mom at the park might think, I was instead approached me with, “I’m so glad to see I’m not the only one who is still giving my 1 year old a bottle!;)

And at the risk of being criticized by any hard-core breastfeeding proponents out there, I must say that although some aspects of my past exclusive breastfeeding experience were far superior, the bottle phase has also been thoroughly enjoyable since it comes with the refreshing feeling of freedom that other caregivers can feed him too – we don’t need to be together every hungry moment anymore.

So, his 15 month check up is coming up and I imagine that the doctor’s going to tell me to stop with the bottles. Of course I’ll be both happy and sad to move onto that next phase of baby growing up, but at least I enjoyed it while it lasted. :)

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2 Responses to True Mommy Confession #1: I Bottle-Feed my Toddler

  1. Maritza Kizzar says:

    Hi! Saw your post on the OC city mommy website. I too have a toddler that still uses a bottle. He’s getting better at the sippy cup, but still not 100% there yet. Good to know I’m not alone!

  2. MamaEEW says:

    We’re still doing both bottle and breast at 9mos :). The only thing that keeps me going with the breastfeeding though (since I still struggle with low supply) is knowing that so many “good intentioned” people and Pediatricians are still lying to poor Moms and about “when a good time to stop BF’ing or start bottles/ foods/ etc”, but I have the tools to combat those lies and keep going with my “Mommy instincts”. Some awesome links I found are: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/bfextended/ebf-benefits.html Also, I read that WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding until two years of age: http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/exclusive_breastfeeding/en/ Of course I myself cannot exclusively breastfeed even if I wanted to, due to my low supply and the growth issues that AJ’s struggled with as well. It breaks my heart, but as long as he doesn’t reject his Mama milk any time soon, I would like to bf as long as I can. But it is nice to let Daddy or someone else give him that bottle once in a while ;).

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